Bellows Falls author launching new book

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BELLOWS FALLS — Local author Eileen Charbonneau will present a talk as part of the launch of her newest book: "Hidden Women of the Civil War," at 7 p.m. Friday at Village Square Booksellers. Based on the research she explored in writing her new historical novel, "Seven Aprils," details seven years (1860-1866) in the life of Tess Barton, during which she disguised herself as a man and served in the Union medical corps.

As in Charbonneau's fictional account, women were so eager to fight for the cause that they cross-dressed to enlist as soldiers - a flouting of the law. Both the Union and Confederate armies forbade the enlistment of women. But by estimates ranging from 400 to 800, women shed their bonnets and dresses for a cap and trousers, passed a cursory medical exam, and went off to war. And most succeeded in their deception. Why? Were they following husbands, brothers, lovers? Were they staunch abolitionists? Or yearning to fight to preserve slavery and "shoulder my pistol and shoot some Yankees?"

Women also served as nurses, spies, and curriers. They harassed armies of both sides. One was part of the team that uncovered an alleged plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Much of this history is ignored or hidden. Much is still being discovered. Charbonneau said she found it fascinating, and hopes you will too.

Charbonneau's novels include "Seven Aprils," "Watch Over Me," "I'll Be Seeing You," "Waltzing in Ragtime," "The Randolph Legacy" and "Rachel LeMoyne." Her work has won a Heart of the West Award, Chanticleer Award in Women's Fiction and Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. She's a member of Historical Novel Society and Novelists, Inc.

Call 802-463-9404 for event and book reservations. Or pre-order online at https://www.villagesquarebooks.com/book/9780228606512, using the "pickup & pay at the store" option.

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